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Jordan Mitchell
Jordan Mitchell

Where To Buy Av Receiver

Yes, there are certain exceptions to this rule as well, where you can incorporate additional amps into a setup with an already installed receiver. But generally speaking, you use a stereo amp for hi-fi, and an AV receiver for home theater. It really is that simple.

where to buy av receiver

Reading through manufacturers'websites, it is clear that they value amplifier power. As the prices of theirreceivers increase, so does the rated amplifier output. It is rare to see a receiverat a high price point with identical power ratings to a cheaper model in a manufacturer's lineup. Even ifit is only a five watt-per-channel increase, there is always an increase. So,wattage must be important right?

The dirty secret of the hometheater world is that most consumer-level speakers can be paired with even an entry level receiver, and do just fine. While a 120watts-per-channel A/V receiver has the potential to sound better than 100 or 80 watts-per-channel A/V receiver, thefact is that you are usually using only a few watts at any giventime on a continuous basis. There are a lot of reasons for this, but if you are trying to decidebetween two receivers and one has slightly more power, don't let this be your final decision making parameter. This is especially true as amplifier ratings are often not consistent from manufacturer to manufacturer, or even from model to model for a single manufacturer. You'll need to account for how power is rated (i.e. bandwidth, distortion level, number of channels driven, etc.) to do the best apples to apples comparison.

The idea that the heavier A/Vreceiver or amplifier is better has been around forever. This is a down-and-dirtymethod for determining the size of the power supply (usually an EI core or toroidaltransformer). The heavier one usually has a larger power supply and thereforehas more power reserves. There is some merit to weight being an indicator of quality, as you need a big power transformer to deliver lots of power to your speakers. However, in addition to a hefty power supply, a powerful receiver needs a generous capacitor storage bank to reduce AC ripple and help sustain power reserves. The power supply dumpspower into the capacitors, and they provide the instantaneous power that yourspeakers might need. Moreover, your receiver could have the world's largest power supply, but without large, well-engineered output transistors in the amplifier's output section and a good amount of heat sinking to keep them from thermal overload, the receiver could still limit the amount of sustained power available to the loudspeakers. This is especially true for low impedance loads that will demand higher current draw from the receiver's amplifier section which in turn will cause it generate more heat.

Be careful when using weight as a determination of quality. Manufacturers know people are looking at theweight as a measure of quality. Look for higher-priced receivers with"features" such as extra-thick aluminum front plates and other weightgaining changes that have little chance of making a sonic difference. In reallyhigh-end and high-dollar offerings, will often beef up the chassis and some may even go so far to add extra fins on the sides just to add weight.

A few years back, the "bigfeature" was Apply AirPlay. AirPlay is Apple's wireless streaming solutionallowing you to stream content from your iPhone, iPod (some models), or iPadover WiFi. Manufacturers were plastering their adoption of this wirelessstreaming solution all over their marking material. Did some people buyspecifically for AirPlay? Probably. But how many of them actually use it? Thisyear the "must have" is Dolby Atmos. If a buyer isn't going to putspeakers high up on their walls or on their ceiling (or buy Atmos-enabledspeakers), purchasing an Atmos receiver doesn't make sense. Don't get caught upin the hype unless you are sure you'll actually use the new feature(s) that your current A/V receiver may be lacking.

There are a ton of featuresincluded in receivers these days. Video processing, room correction, multiplezone support, height and ceiling speakers, wireless streaming, Bluetooth...thelist goes on. It can be overwhelming. We recommend that you find a couple features thatare important to you and start to weed out the choices. Do you absolutely needa second zone of audio? That will help reduce the number of choices. Do youhave a room correction software that you really want? What about number ofchannels, number of inputs, number of subwoofers, or a particular piece of gear(like a vinyl player) that requires a specific input? Once you've got a shortlist of "must have" features, the number of receiver options shouldreduce from "all of them" to "all of them at this price andhigher". The next step is figuring out which is the least expensive optionthat gives you everything you need.

These days it is hard to find areceiver that has less that seven channels of amplification. If you are onlylooking for one room (a single home theater system) any receiver will do. Butif you want to utilize some of the newer surround sound formats, you'll needeither a receiver with more channels of amplification, or preamp outputs foradditional speakers. Not all receivers support multiple zones of audio, soknowing how many zones you'll actually use is important. This should furtherreduce the number of lower priced receiver choices. If you can't budget for a new A/V receiver with all of the necessary internal amplifiers built-in to support a full fledged 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos system, make sure the model you're choosing has preamp outputs to allow you to accommodate your future expansion needs.

On the most basic level, you'llwant to make sure your new receiver has the number and types of inputs you require. If allof your sources connect via HDMI, you'll need to count the number of HDMIinputs on the back of the receiver. But if you have legacy devices withcomponent, composite, or (God help you) s-video connection, you'll want toensure that your new receiver has the correct inputs and also that videoupconversion is available. This feature (generally available on all mid-pricedreceivers and higher) takes all your video inputs and transforms them to yourpreferred video output (usually HDMI). This is a huge convenience thateliminates the need to switch inputs on your TV when switching sources.

As you go up in receiverprices, you'll find tons of options that sound fantastic. Video processing,network streaming, wireless connections, and much more. While these are alluseful features, many people already have boxes that fulfill these roles. Doyou have a nice Blu-ray player? You likely don't need video processing(especially if you invested in an Oppo player - one of our favorites). Do youhave a game system (Xbox or Playstation), a newer "smart" TV, or oneof the streaming solutions from Apple, Roku, or Google? You don't needstreaming.

On the other hand, if you have an external amplifier that you want to connect, you'll need tomake sure the receiver has preamp outputs at least for the front left/right channels. If you have a record player, you'll need aphono input (unless you have a preamp for your player). Mostly, knowing your gearwill help you reduce the number of higher-priced receiver options.

Here we finally get toamplifier power. Most receivers will be just fine to power most speakers inmost rooms (yes, that's a lot of mosts). Consumer-level speakers are generally8 ohms and most rooms in your home won't be mistaken for a large arena. Even in a "greatroom," any A/V receiver can push speakers to ear-bleed levels. The fact isthat your ears will give out long before your receiver runs out of power. However, this doesn't mean all A/V receivers will sound identical, though we've found receivers in the same price class will tend to sound similar.

First, check out the impedancespecification for your speakers. If it says 8 ohms nominal, you'll be fine.Next, do an Internet search for your speakers and "hard to drive." Ifyou don't come up with a lot of people complaining about their speakers, you'llbe fine. Lastly, check out your room. If it isn't cavernous or full ofabsorptive room treatments, you'll be fine. If you are still worried, buy thereceiver from a place with a good return policy, and run your speakers very loudfor an hour. Feel the top of the receiver. If it could cook an egg, you maywant to get an external amp or bump up to the next level of receiver. The factis that the most taxing sounds should be coming from your subwoofer. If you arecrossing your speakers over at 80 Hz as we suggest, and have a decent sub, anyreceiver will be fine.

We'd like to say that this is adefinitive guide on receiver buying. Of course, every person's needs areunique. What we have tried to create is a general guide on how to whittle downyour choices. Next you can use something like our $500 receiver comparison to quickly see which receivers have exactly what you need. Once they are down to a reasonable level, choosing between theavailable options will be as much an emotional decision as it is a rationalone. Our hope is that, in the end, you purchase a receiver with all thefeatures you need without paying for features you don't. Happy shopping!

AV (audio/video) receivers are intended to function as the core of a home theater. They build on the stereo receiver concept by adding surround sound capability, digital audio processing, digital video processing and switching, automatic speaker setup systems, and, more commonly, network audio and video support.

Most stereo receivers these days are in the form of smart Bluetooth speakers, except for some dedicated or retro steups. For the most part, we will be focusing our discussion on how to choose an AV receiver, but keep in mind that many of the characteristics that indicate product quality apply to both.

Impedance: Impedance is a measure of electrical resistance. Most (but definitely not all) home audio speakers have an impedance of around 6 to 8 ohms. Manufacturers know this is the case, so they should publish power ratings established while driving an 8-ohm load. However, since power ratings can as much as double when established by using a lower impedance load, some receiver makers will use this to make their power ratings look better. Ironically, these receivers are nowhere near capable of driving a 4-ohm speaker in the real world. In fact, trying to do so will probably result in speaker and receiver damage. Bottom line, if you do see a 4-ohm power rating, there should also be an 8-ohm rating right next to it. 041b061a72


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